So apparently blogging while potty training is a bit difficult. Sorry for the delay! If you haven’t read Day Zero: Preparation, read that first. Note: I’m going to be using masculine pronouns in my directions simply to avoid constantly using “him/her” or plural pronouns. Since I’ve been potty training a boy, and I have specific tips for potty training boys, I hope you’ll understand.
THE BIG DAY went similarly to Potty Training in One Day as outlined by Krysta on her blog These Are The Days. I did do a couple of things differently and learned a few things on the way. Here’s how the day went.
I grabbed a Medicine Dropper and filled it with water. Holding the medicine dropper behind the doll, I made the doll have an “accident,” with Champ witnessing.
“Uh oh! Pablo went wee wee on the floor! No, no wee wee on the floor!” I picked Pablo up and ran him to the potty, pointing at it. “Wee wee on the potty!” Then I ran him back to the hallway, where he had the accident. “No, no wee wee on the floor!” I ran back to the potty and pointed, “Wee wee on the pottyI ran to the potty ten times with Pablo. It certainly got Champ’s attention! Then I said something like “Let’s see if Pablo can go wee wee on the potty.” Pablo sat on the potty and I squirted the rest of the water out of the medicine dropper into the toilet so Champ could see and hear. Then I freaked out in excitement, “YAY! Pablo went wee wee on the potty! Hooray!” and I did a little dance. “You get a sticker!” I grabbed a sticker and put it on Pablo’s shirt. Then we washed Pablo’s hands (pretend) and gave him a gummy bear.
“You can have a sticker and a gummy bear, too, if you go wee wee on the potty. Do you want to try?” I can’t remember how the first time went, if he did go right away or if he freaked out. I DID give him a little schpiel about big boy pants, and how exciting they are, and let him wear them that first morning. That might work for a girl, but for a boy, I recommend NOT using underwear the first day. See “What I learned” below.
Whether you have the underpants talk or not, just try getting the kid on the potty that first time after showing them the doll. Then fill him up with juice and snacks for the rest of the day so he keeps having to go potty. Keep activities to ones that can be easily paused, and if you have hardwood floors, try to stay on the hardwood or tile.
If he goes potty, get excited and let him pick out a sticker and put it on the chart. Give him a treat. I did one sticker and a gummy bear for peeing and two stickers and a DumDum sucker for pooping. Set a timer for 15 minutes, and when the timer goes off, gasp and say “Oh! It’s time to go to the potty again! Let’s try!” and immediately take him to the potty.
If he doesn’t go potty after 2 minutes, tell him he did a good job trying, and he can go play again, but he needs to try going potty again in a few minutes. Set the timer for 5 minutes and repeat the 2 minutes trying, five minutes playing and eating and drinking, pattern until he or she has an accident or goes successfully.
If he has an accident, don’t get mad! Say, “No, no wee wee on the floor!” and pick him up and run him to the bathroom. The surprise will stop him peeing. Point to the potty and say, “Wee wee in the potty!” Run back to the floor (still holding him under the armpits) and say, “No, no wee wee on the floor!” Run back to the bathroom and say, “Wee wee in the potty!” Do this ten times, and then place them on the potty. I’m pregnant and tired, so I definitely didn’t run back and forth all the way. I went a few steps into the bathroom so he could see the potty, then a few steps back out into the hallway so he could see the floor where he peed (a room or two away). If it sounds ridiculous, that’s because it is. He’ll laugh, but he will get it. Again, don’t get mad—but it’s okay to show disappointment with your tone of voice. Once he’s done on the potty, if he goes, give him a reward. Then go clean up the accident with him, and talk about it not being fun cleaning up wee wee on the floor, that it’s yucky to clean up. (But don’t call him yucky or bad—and remember, he’s been peeing and pooping wherever he wanted for the last couple of years. Give the kid a break!) Set the timer for 15 minutes, maybe 10, and start over again.
Eating and drinking<—this is key. You want him to have a full bladder so he keeps going potty. I let him choose which snacks he wanted during the preparation stage. We had juice boxes, Capri Suns, water, milk, Goldfish crackers, fruit, fruit snacks, and other salty and sweet healthy snacks. One day of treats won’t kill or spoil your child. Think of it as a Potty Party. And be sure to get some snacks for yourself, too.
Squirt gun paintings Champ found his squirt gun, which I had taken away after he shot up my bookshelf of antique, hardcover books. I let him have it again, but the rule was he could only shoot the back wall of the shower. To keep him entertained, I put up some pieces of construction paper for him to shoot. Captain is an expert marksman, so it wasn’t too surprising that Champ has a pretty good aim.
Play-doh Champ got to pick one container for himself but insisted I have one too. So I made a little potty. There was a tiny bit left over, so Champ got to drop a Play-doh poo into the Play-doh potty. Yes, I was made to be the mother of a boy, it seems.
I had this grand list of activities we could try. But much time was spent eating or drinking, he was happy with just two activities the whole day, and I was so burned out after a frustrating morning (see “What I learned,” below), we kept to the above. Other ideas: finger paints, color sorting, books, coloring, making Valentines crafts, and play kitchen. We didn’t watch TV or movies, but yes, I did cave and let him watch short clips from the PBS Kids app on my phone. The clips were each less than 5 minutes, so he didn’t get too distracted.
Nap Time and Bed Time
If you’ve never had cloth diapers, you can put your child in underpants with those Gerber “plastic pants” over them for nap time. We use Thirsties brand Duo Wrap cover with snaps, which you can put over underpants, too. Since Champ still hasn’t woken up consistently dry yet, we just put him in a cloth diaper. We’ll switch to underpants and a cover after he’s been dry a week, then a week later let him just be in his underwear. DO NOT USE DISPOSABLES. They wick the moisture away from your child, so they don’t feel wet. Sounds great until you realize it is that wet sensation that potty trains your child.
I read that 1 out of 3 kids under 3 years old have no control over their bladder at night. 15% of kids still don’t have that control when they are six years old. If you want to use disposable diapers or Good Nights at night until your child wakes up dry, I think that’s completely understandable! We will continue using cloth because it is more cost efficient for us, and it speeds potty training along.
What I learned (aka, how not to completely lose your mind)
After we both took a nap, I made a few changes. The afternoon was so much better than the morning because of it!
- Embrace the naked. Let them run around in a shirt and baby legs if it’s cold, but don’t go straight from diaper to underpants. It’s easier for them to realize when they need to go if they don’t assume they are wearing a diaper. After his nap, I didn’t make Champ wear underpants, and it made a night/day difference to potty training.
- Don’t spend too much time in the bathroom. Before nap, if he didn’t go potty when I knew he had to, I just kept him on the potty until he would go. I tried to distract him, I even let him drink juice while sitting there. It was absolutely miserable—we both felt like we were being punished. Don’t make them sit on the potty longer than they would sit in time out (one minute per year of age). Champ is 2, we did 2 minutes. If your child is 2.5, keep him on the potty for 2.5 minutes before you let him play again. 3 years = 3 minutes, etc. Let them play for 5 minutes before trying again.
- Accidents are teachable moments. They learn more from having accidents (be sure to do the back and forth running, as mentioned above) than from going perfectly each time. Wouldn’t you rather your child have an accident on the day you have set apart for this thing, if it keeps him accident-free at your next trip to the store?
We had a few accidents, but by the afternoon, we were in the black! And I know Day One was a success, because Day Two he had zero accidents while he was awake.
Hopefully tomorrow, but at least some time this week, I’ll post about how the rest of the week has been going. (He’s been doing great!) I do still recommend not going anywhere the first 3 days if you can help it. On the fourth day, we went to church, but he stayed in the nursery and one of the nursery workers kept taking him to the potty. If your child is in daycare, be sure to let your provider know your child’s word for “potty”—Champ can’t say his Ps, so “wee wee” is what we ended up using.
Update July 2013, six months later: Champ vastly improved over his first week, and by the end of January, he didn’t have any accidents except maybe at night (I kept him in cloth diapers for overnights. Most children cannot control their bladders overnight until the age of 3, and many still cannot at the age of six!). However, we have had some major hurdles since then. In February, he went to daycare for 3 weeks before I pulled him out. The workers would not take him potty when he needed to go, instead, they took all of the children on potty breaks every hour. The bladder of a 2-year-old doesn’t work like that! Second, my baby was born in April, so we had another regression. My advice? Keep on it. Go back to stickers if you need to. We ended up using two charts and gave one sticker if he went potty in the toilet and one if his underpants were dry when he went potty. The main thing is to ask often, recognize the potty dance, and get them to the bathroom as soon as possible. I’m amazed at how much bladder control this kid has when he is engaged in one activity. It’s when he’s distracted by MANY different things that he still has accidents.